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Fully endoscopic microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia: technical note and early outcomes.

Neurosurgical Review 2023 November 2
Microscopic microvascular decompression (MVD) has been considered a curative and reliable method for treating classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) for decades. Endoscopy can provide bright illumination and a panoramic view, which enhances the visualization of the posterior fossa. In view of the above advantages of endoscopy, it gradually became an option for MVD for treating TN. This study was performed to evaluate the advantages of fully endoscopic MVD for treating TN and is presented with a description of our operative technique. From January 2020 to January 2022, 95 classical TN patients underwent fully endoscopic MVD performed by the same surgeon and assistant in our department. The assistant held the endoscope, and the surgeon operated. Brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BEMPs) were routinely monitored. For every patient, the neurovascular conflict was identified, and complete decompression was achieved. The Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score was used to evaluate the degree of facial pain. The intraoperative findings, postoperative outcomes, and complications were analyzed. Immediately after the operation, 93 patients (97.9%) achieved complete pain relief (BNI score of I). Two patients (2.1%) still had some pain, but it could be adequately controlled with medicine (BNI score of III). During the 12-36 months of follow-up, recurrence was found in 3 patients (3.2%), including one patient (1.1%) with a BNI score of II and 2 patients (2.1%) with a BNI score of III. Complications were found in 5 patients (5.3%), including facial numbness in 3 patients (3.2%), vertigo in one patient (1.1%), and headache in one patient (1.1%). There were no cases of mortality, stroke, hearing impairment, facial paralysis, or other complications. Fully endoscopic MVD is a safe and effective method for treating TN. It provides bright illumination and a panoramic view for surgeons to better observe neurovascular conflicts in deep areas of the cerebellopontine angle (CPA).

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